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Boosting Happiness with the Well-Being Group at EPAM Bulgaria (Pt 1)

Boosting happiness with the Well-Being Group at EPAM Bulgaria (Pt 1)

At EPAM Bulgaria, we work hard to develop successful and innovative technology projects to support our customers, partners and communities. But we still find time to have fun—because the secret to excellent work-life balance is creativity, enthusiasm and dedication.  

These words also describe our ‘OneTeam’ initiative and its groups. Our OneTeam article series continues, and today we meet members of our Well-Being Group. This group provides ideas and opportunities to bring EPAMers together, socialize and unwind outside of the office.  

What does our Well-Being Group do? 
Our Well-Being Group, part of EPAM’s OneTeam initiative, is the driving force behind activities that promote the physical and mental health of colleagues, while also fostering a sense of camaraderie and enjoyment. This group organizes various events, such as mountain hikes, volleyball training, running marathons, sports camps, a summer office closer to the seashore, and more! The hard work the Well-Being Group does provides EPAMers a much-needed break from their busy work schedules.

As mentioned, for a fifth year in a row, EPAM will move our offices closer to the seashore with a ‘summer office.’ In addition, we’ll provide a full program with fun activities that build on the already-established benefits the company provides. 

At EPAM, we care about your mental and physical health. Our OneTeam program offers free, anonymous sessions with a psychologist to all employees. We're here to support you so you can thrive physically and mentally.

Hear from our employee-leaders, Ivaylo Pashov, Solution Architect and Svetoslav Minev, Senior Systems Engineer, who will share team-oriented stories, challenges and experiences from the OneTeam Well-Being Group.

Ivaylo Pashov, Solution Architect II

How did the idea for the creation of the Well-Being Group in EPAM come about?

Quite spontaneously, about a year and a half ago, we gathered a team of people who have comprehensive interests related to both sports and the organization of events and a common goal—to make the working environment in the company more vibrant for others.

To our colleagues, our visions may seem homogeneous, but it actually took time and teamwork to embed everyone's views in a holistic experience, such as any event of the Well-Being Group.

You organize most of the sporting events in the company. What is the importance of sport for you, how long have you been playing sports and which ones? How does sport help us to be more productive?

Sport is rooted in my daily life; I often exercise twice a day. Usually, my day starts with a short workout to wake up instead of a cup of coffee, and in the evening, after work, I lead workouts with friends and everyone who wants to join.

Sport teaches us perseverance and discipline, and with it we balance more easily in everyday life, relieving ourselves of tension and giving us the confidence to cope with challenges.

Is it difficult to organize initiatives for 450+ people? How does this help you in your daily work?

It is not difficult. Especially since the work is a joy for me! Our Well-Being Group has developed many experiences for employees, including everything from sports camps, and summer offices located near the beach, to volleyball and football teams. We also host weekly runs and gatherings in the mountains.

For our colleagues, it may seem simple, but we often discuss options and details at length to ensure it is presented seamlessly. Of course, the most difficult thing is to make options that are suitable and interesting for everyone. Our goal, besides sports, is to include a social element with exciting adventures that inspire us.

What is the most positive effect that these activities lead to?

All the positives that arise from the sport are present, but besides them, our events have a very strong social, even euphoric effect, and colleagues feel more complete as part of the group. Although our gatherings that last for a few days are quite intense and often lead to a lack of sleep.

What initiatives lie ahead?

There are two major events to come:

  • Summer office – we will work from the southern Black Sea coast for eight working days and two weekends. We expect a lot of exciting activities on the beach. Every day is filled to the maximum, sleep is limited, and the workplace from the beach gives us the pleasure of the sea and the sun without having to take a vacation—it is both for digital nomadic adventurers and anyone looking for a change of environment as an additional incentive at work!
  • Sports camp – we are still discussing the format, but we want this year to be more intense and diverse than ever.

Svetoslav Minev, Senior Systems Engineer

How did the idea of organizing free meetings with psychologists for employees come about?

The idea arose after I noticed the need for mental health support for my colleagues in the company. I noted that stress and workload, as well as personal problems, can negatively affect their work efficiency and well-being. I realized that providing psychological help and support can create a healthier and more productive work environment. I understand that each of us faces challenges and needs support when we feel overwhelmed or emotionally vulnerable.

How does it enrich the company's other well-being activities?

These sessions help employees overcome problems of a different nature, so that we feel good inside and out. Caring for the mental health of our colleagues is important, so I am very happy that we can provide it. The organization of meetings with psychotherapists complements existing physical health programs and plays a crucial role in improving mental well-being.

What are the plans to develop the program and support the mental health of colleagues?

Our desire is to provide greater access to psychological assistance for all employees who need it. We also want to encourage open discussion of mental health issues and create a culture of support, understanding and solidarity among our employees. Our plans include validating the program and developing it more broadly.

This article is part of a well-being series providing a wealth of information on the outstanding practices and captivating stories of OneTeam. Follow along as we explore the numerous activities and initiatives organized by our dedicated Well-Being Group.

Part two of this series will introduce Stanislava Yaneva and Valeri Buchinski, who will share useful information about the company's sports teams and the initiatives that EPAM is committed to in the long term.